The Purpose of Sex

Monday, Feb. 13th 2012 12:45 PM

Is sex a sacred sharing that should only happen between two people who love each other? Is it a conduit for pleasure, or solely for reproduction? Is it a tool that the devil uses to bait people into going against God’s wishes?

I recently enjoyed a conversation with a friend’s mother about sex. When I mentioned a blog I wrote about “It’s Not Your Relationship; It’s Not Your Business – Or Is It?,” she said that these types of unions are about physical gratification, and little else. Then, she insisted that sex was for procreation. This is where it got juicy.

It is worth noting that I am talking about a woman who has five children. It is safe to say that she knows something about the matter at hand, and I respect that. But I challenged her assertion anyway. I asked, “If sex is simply for procreation, why can people who have passed child-bearing years still have and, from what I understand, enjoy it?” From a purely biological standpoint, once the body is no longer able to create children was over, there would be no reason for it to have stimulated genitals.

I countered, “The purpose of sex is intimacy.”

“So, is all sex intimate?” she retorted.

“Yes,” I said. “There is a level of intimacy occurring when there is sex – all of the time.”

In fact, with any human interaction, there is some level of intimacy. Sex, I believe, is given to us as a way to connect with one another and to satiate a hunger – not a baseless, animalistic hunger for pleasure (though sex can certainly be pleasurable … and animalistic), but a hunger for intimacy. If sex was purely about physical stimulation and gratification, we wouldn’t even need other human beings. At the risk of being crude, I point out that most of us know how to fly solo. Yet, that isn’t enough for most people. We want to connect with another person – to be touched, held, kissed, spoken to, noticed, appreciated, liked or loved, depending on what level of intimacy we want to feel.

Sex is also intimate in that it requires some level of vulnerability … and some level of risk. When we have sex, we risk unwanted pregnancy or contracting sexually-transmitted diseases, some of which can kill us. Depending on the situation, we may also risk our hearts, or risk getting caught. But knowing all of this, we still have sex.

Just as there is always some level of intimacy in all human interaction, there is also always some level of risk. When we talk to and exchange money with the cashier at the grocery store, we risk exposure to whatever airborne germs he might have. And when we make eye contact with strangers, we may be making ourselves vulnerable to an attack. But we still talk to people, interact with them and make eye contact, because as human beings, we feel some need to connect with others, so the risk is worth it.

I suspect there can be no intimacy if there is no risk. Sure, talking to cashiers and making eye contact with strangers are not as risky as having sex, but they also aren’t as intimate. The more you could get hurt by an interaction – the more vulnerable you’re willing to make yourself to another person, even if only subconsciously – the more intimate it is.

What do you believe the purpose of sex to be, and why? This may be the beginning of a fascinating dialogue. I look forward to it.

Keep Rising,

Frank Love

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Leave a Comment: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

How to Gracefully Exit a Relationship

36 Comments on “The Purpose of Sex”


    For me, intimacy and commitment.

  2. Greg Clark Says:

    I get the question but think it begs additional questions. Questions like: What role does your view of morality play in your view of sex? Is sex a moral issue? I heard a speaker say once, “Wild animals have indiscriminate sex, are people different from wild animals?” Obviously, values and religious views are the basis for how one may or may not answer. As a society, we have moved from sex being considered sacred to sex being viewed more casually. To try to address views of sexual behavior is like talking about religion and politics. All are passionate but for different reasons.

  3. Hamid Reza Dadgostar Says:

    it is aobut all the above

  4. Israel Helfand Says:

    In short, YES, to all of the above except the devil stuff. It is unfortunate that Christianity has been so unfriendly to Sex for Pleasure. Not everyone chooses to enter into Marriage or is heterosexual. Sex comes in many different forms and are a blessing not a sin. For 30 years my wife and I have been offering Sex Therapy to couples and much of our work is healing the damage that was done in the name of religion.

  5. Clyde Ashley Sherman Says:

    Soley for reproduction…..

  6. Madhu Sameer Says:

    It is what one makes it to be, what one wants it to be.

    In of itself it is merely an instinctive physical activity, like going to the restroom, sleeping etc.

  7. Anthony Thomas Says:

    King Solomon had 300 wives and 700 concubines, so therefore I believe there is more than a reproductive aspect involved. Also, the multitude of nerve endings that are stimulated and the endorphins that are released suggest that there is a physiological benefit to sexual encounters.

  8. Dick Ivey Says:

    Mark me down as old fashioned, but I’m convinced that sex was always intended to be between one man and one woman who bind themselves together before God to be husband and wife until one of them lays the other in the arms of God.

    My observations from more than 25 years of coaching and mentoring marriages is that the best sex comes between people who learn how to ask each other for what they want and who have committed to having servants’ hearts toward each other.

    The goal of what we teach couples to do is to decide to give each other a reasonable expectation that they can each get from each other what they want in the relationship.

    Anybody who wants to hear more about that, drop me a note and I’ll send you a chapter from a new book that will be in the market later this year…24k Gold Weddings and Styrofoam Marriages. There are some super creative suggestions for enhancing the joy of sex that can glue a relationship together forever. Does it work? You bet! At our house, “We eat our own dogfood.” Nothing in this is something we don’t practice.

  9. Koalani Aktypi Says:

    Sex is divine communion between two people who love each other. This doesn’t mean that it cannot be used as fun. Reproduction can be achieved through other means, so sex isn’t necessary. On other planets reproduction and birth are carried out scientifically and outside biological bodies.

    But since you mentioned Samael (the Devil’s real name), demons do use negative sex -like in rapes or between people who have attached demons or red ones, i.e. people were conceived or born with the help of demons- for their own purposes. These are to steal sperm so as to produce etheric doublegangers or to produce more red ones. I know this sounds like science fiction, but this is one of the reasons why religions encompass so many prejudices around sex. The real reasons behind them were lost leaving only the prohibitions.

  10. Akira Dawn Says:

    I enjoyed the article, Frank 🙂 I agree with you – and also something someone else said in a comment on the main article’s page…sex is what you make of it. The connections, the level (or lack thereof) of intimacy.

    Sex is different for everyone – self defined, and often done so unconsciously. And yet, where do those definitions come from? Family, friends, cultural influences and media… And discussions like these 🙂

    Talking about the possibilities for sexuality is a wonderful avenue of exploration – I’m glad you presented it here 🙂

    How’s that old (well, relatively new, all things considered…) saying go? “A mind is like a parachute…it works best when open.”

  11. Neil Matthew HMCS(Ret) Says:

    That is a great question. The question can really be broken down much further into its different comprehension of “Sex”. We can be biblical to Bill Clinton-ical. Biblical maintains sex is penitration between two people, I would like to say it only says, between a man and a woman, but there is that whole chapter about sodomy now isn’t there. In today’s age, two women can have “Sex” and since there is not external parts to women is there any penetration other than with some sort of “toy”?, but there is pleasure to the act without any chance of reproduction, likewise there is penetration between two men, but again no chance of reproduction, in both instances I will have to say it is for either pleasure and/or intimacy. Now we have the idea of reproduction. Lets face it, how many couples have reproduced without love or intimacy? Damn R&B can account for a lot of reproduction. I think I will end here. Sex is an act, the emotion or lack there of is what distinguishes it purpose and intention. Making love is the sexual act between two people in love, without that sex is just “F’ing”.

  12. jed newirth Says:

    Sex is a wonderful way to express love for one another, whether within the context of marriage or same-sex relationship. Given that sex takes place between those without seeking to expand their family or otherwise add to the world’s population, it is a gift to be used in means besides solely to create more children. Thank goodness I’ve never been forced into sex with anyone else in whom I was not interested.

  13. Teresa Oglesbee Says:

    Simply; sex should be saved for marriage and it is definatly a tool that Satan uses to destroy relationships. Period!

  14. Franklin Erder Says:

    IMHO, it’s a share of this and a share of that, depending on the moment or reason for having it. Quite frankly, something this complicated (for us, human beings) can’t seriously have only ONE purpose, can it ?? !

  15. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    I agree with Madhu, Sex is part of the romantic love scope.

    To some it could imply intimacy, to others sex in the bathroom of a diner, others look at it as mere reproductive necessity, yet others can use it for some pleasure, like food.

    What makes you search for the “purpose of sex”?

  16. R. Burney Says:

    I think there is more to sex than reproduction. It is best between two people who care about each other. I believe that there can be intimacy with out sex, and sex without intimacy.

  17. C. A. Sherman Says:

    In nature…The reproductive organs are used to reproduce…”Period”…Once a woman is pregnant she can still have sex for months and months but eventually she will give birth…

    Outside of that..anything is possible but I believe that is it’s function as it relates to Nature / “Human Nature” …

    LOVE? is a man made creation in his own mind….lol

    In nature..There is a process to being selected by your mate…Odors, colors, Attraction, Size…etc…These things matter but are not necessary all the time… To reproduce ..

    The Bible / Religion is another man made creation that has a mental hold on traditional human behavior… King Solomon was a good example of a pro creator.. Just think if all men acted that way…The world would be well populated….

  18. Sharlene Stewart Says:

    This is very interesting Frank. I say, if we go by the bible, sex was first created for procreation and pleasure. Though as the story goes, Eve did not listen in the garden and therefore sin and shame came into play. I believe that satan does take over some minds of those that use sex inappropriately and for the others, it is intimacy and enjoyment after the procreation years, as GOD intended for us way back then.

  19. Filomena Day Says:

    Now your question sparks an interesting discussion which one wouldn’t expect on this type of group. It just so happens that I have a book project coming out with Dr. Stephen Covey, Patricia Fripp, and Dr. Tony Alesandra. My chapter (also the topic of a teleseminar series I’ve created) is entitled “Everybody Needs Great SECS to be Truly Successful”. However the SECS is an acronym for Self Concept, Energy, Competencies/Capabilities, Support System (people, places, or process). I do include the quality of your intimate relationships as part of the support from people we love as crucial to one’s success in life.

  20. Helena Malin Says:

    It all depends on your intention! Sex can be for healing, transformation, fun, relaxation, release, making babies, pleasure, intimacy, consciousness activation, sacred ritual. It is all good!

    They key is in aligning with your own intention and with full agreement and respect with those participating — even if it doesn’t look like it from the outside.

    I personally prefer quality experiences where there is a sacred heart connection and then elect other options from there, because I know when loving respect is involved, I can relax, feel safer and enjoy more. In addition, I have found that when I integrate the experience with activating more of myself and chakras above the waist, that I find greater fulfillment, depth and satisfaction from the experience as well.

    When beginning on the sexual journey, without training, rubbing stuff might be enough for many. And yet, with my clients, whether they are self-stimulating or playing with others, without including loving intention and overall activation, the experience may degrade into merely scratching a sexual itch, that leaves them feeling empty, depleted and unsatisfied — which sometimes can lead them down the path of addictive chasing for somehting that that just doesn’t do it for them… not enough anyway.

  21. Jia Shakta Says:

    I like your perspective Helena~

  22. Harold Reese Says:

    Sex is for reproduction. The lure is pleasure, the security or protection of the mother is the love thing we call love so that the offspring is born. It is natural and normal to have more than one partner in nature.Society and religion limit this thought so to control the population relative to the resources that are available.

  23. Geraldine Matus Says:

    I think it is reasonable to look at sex as an archetype, and a such is multivalent and manifests in the conscious realm in more or less potent ways. The social, cultural and personal ethic attributed to sex, in my view, are what we project on to sex as a way for us to wrestle with this archetype. As an archetype, not matter its expression, it will be transformational whether we like it or not.

  24. John Brusseau Says:

    Nicely put, Geraldine.
    The implications of sexuality being founded on an archetypal foundation are very significant to each of us. One of the implications I see of archetypal ordering of sexuality is that one must assume there is a sexual norm, and that only in defining this archetypal boilerplate of normalcy can one define sexual anomalies.

    It is this particular psychological fact, which many of us who are conscious of the reality of archetypal structure, have difficulty integrating with current cultural beliefs regarding sexuality.

    Most discussions, including the one in this group, on sexuality, seem to assiduously ignore the fact of the archetypal structure of consciousness, and desire in particular.

    Archetypes, it seems to me, indicate the existence of norms. and archetypal images (such as Oedipus or Venus, etc. ) are variations, or anomalies, with reference to their correlating archetypes. In other words, the archetypes on which archetypal images are built are designed to show us (in detail) how we are functioning in comparison to the archetypal norm. It is this comparison that serves as the starting point for emotional and psychological development.

    This of course will never be socially or politically comfortable to grapple with, but it remains a foundational principal we must deal with, in any case. Ignoring it for political expediency will not ever serve to resolve our issues with sexuality. Ignoring the archetypal factor of consciousness will only result in people imposing an artificial solution on other people.

  25. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    there seems to be an over-use of this word “archetypal”.. Archetypal this, and Archetypal that.. and even Archetypal Norm and Archetypal factor of Consciousness. Sexuality is beyond Archetypal anything…It does not have to fit into any norms.
    Sexuality is the nail that that Universe is hanging on.. anything else is just intellect-utalizaton of that image.

  26. John Brusseau Says:

    Dimitri, what I hear you saying is that you don’t get the concept of the archetype.
    If you don’t see the archetype as a valid idea as it relates to the structure of the psyche, then from your point of view there would be no such things as norms.

    And that is my point. The existence of archetypes argues for the existence of norms. I see these archetypes as the very framework that our consciousness is built within, and thus, is the perfect natural basis of these norms.

  27. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    John, i get the concept of the archetype, I just don’t think that this concept should be pushed and used so many times in 1 paragraph. That’s all. its all left to the interpretation, even the notion of norms. some norms were not “normal” even 20 years ago — how does that relate to the archetypes and the structure of psyche, while we are on the subject of sexuality. but may be we just talking about different things 🙂

  28. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    I think that the word norm presents a problem when discussing the archetype, because really it is more the presence of patterns repeating themselves that alert us to the presence of an archetypal field. “Norms” are a more intellectual reduction of the archetypal patterns. Every archetype in a way refers back to the whole cosmos, but we find out way to the whole cosmos through the archetype as it presents in repetitive patterns that have energy in them that moves us to a feeling and ethical place — the definition of that ‘feeling and ethical place’ may have coherence with a collective or mainstream concept or be a perversion or antithetical to the collective mind. Marie-Louise vonFranz’s “Archetypal Patterns in Fairy Tales” attempts to speak to this.

  29. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    John, you know I have to admit, and I will repeat this again and again, that my poor English gets in the way of comprehending these ideas.

    But were you not the one who stated: “Archetypes, it seems to me, indicate the existence of norms.” and then 1 post later you say: “The existence of archetypes argues for the existence of norms.” and then in the same paragraph you say: “and thus, is the perfect natural basis of these norms. “..

    I get confused.. I still have an old CPU, or the Russian one, with analogue lamps..

    I simply dont get it…sorry 🙂

    But hey.. Confusion is the state of learning.. there is something positive about it, at least…

  30. John Brusseau Says:

    Dimitri, you are right in suggesting that much is dependent upon one’s interpretation. That of course is why we discuss these things with each other.

    I cannot speak for anyone else’s perception of things. I like hearing your point of view. You cover ground (so to speak) that I don”t, so I tend to learn from your ideas.

    I am suggesting that archetypes are things like unity, duality, triunity, catalyst, system, outcome, Father, mother, child, and these types are essentially the predicates of everything in existence, the templates upon which everything is formed. And in as much as this is so, there are such things as norms. These norms are defined as the essential characteristics of these archetypes.

    For example, the father and mother archetypes would be defined by their essential characteristics. Anything that we put into the definition would have to be essential to the functioning of a father or mother. Everything else would be considered abnormal.

    This may not seem right to you. That’s okay. But that is the idea I am working with at present.

    Geraldine, Archetypes have energy in them, and so do archetypal images. Both are embedded in repeating patterns of behavior. Yet both are not the same thing. And both do not serve as foundations of normative behavior. Archetypal images (in my present view) serve to highlight our progress toward the norms by the comparison with the archetypes.

    For example the father and mother archetypal images found in most myths contain much that is not essential to the archetypes of father and mother, and these non-essential factors provide us with a concept of the things that naturally go wrong in our life. Archetypes provide the ingredients for our SELF (our ideal version of us).

    It is popular to assume there are no absolutes, and the thing that has fueled this assumption is the simplistic, subjectively held, often religious, ideas that come packaged in a discussion of absolutes. Yet, the universe is a fairly consistent system isn’t it? For don’t all of the observed anomalies only serve to highlight the orderliness and systematic repetition of patterns that make up the universe?

    This is how it looks to me, at any rate.

    One more thing, defining the essence of anything is an imperfect endeavor, at best, so there will never be room for any of us to impose our view of archetypal norms on anyone else. But we can still enjoy working on the definition, and any bit of accuracy we come to in defining the essence of a mother or a father, etc. will surely add much to our understanding of our lives.

  31. Dimtiri Moshkov Says:

    How does all of that relates to the question of Intimacy, Reproduction, Sexuality, Sacred Sharing, Romantic Love and the Purpose of Sex?

    How, keeping in mind what you are talking about, helps the reader, the audience, to get closer to “some” answers about sex and sexuality?

    If the universe was only consistent system with its norms and regulations, how would that system allow for such a deviation into capitalism, materialism, consumerism, sexual revolution, gay marriages, and same sex parenting ( as an example ).

    Not that I am against any of the above, just on the subjects of “norms”.

    You also have not mentioned the Archetype of a Healer, ( which you might be under, somewhat, would you not agree )…he does not have to be a father or a mother, or a child for that matter ( nor be under the poles of the above archetypes )

  32. Ron Jorgenson M.Ed;RCC Says:

    If we struggle to reduce sex and sexuality to a single factor or thought or archetype then we go back to First Cause and of course the next step out is Divine Father, Divine Mother and from their a host of subtypes or sub archetypes which discreetly hold aspects of the aformentioned. Of course sexuality is rooted somewhere back in the creative thought or seed and then bifurcated in an energy and form which First nations might ascribe to Father Sky and Mother Earth with volcanic heat at one end of the spectrum and a bolt of lightning at the other.

    Sex then unfolds in all its rampant forms from a ground swell of internal fire to a rapacious lightning strike. Of course there is the slow warming of the hot spring and the limb splitting incision of a lightning strike and the bubbling up on land and flowing over and the bubbling up within the ocean of unconsciousness.

    Thus we have language which use the same term for “penis” as we do for “clam” and cultures who see their beginnings rooted in the union of transformational figures with animal forms whether wolves or bears.

    So where am I going with this!! Well culture directs language and language guides perception and perception cultivates behavior and response. So sex and sexuality vary with perception as has been eloquently described above and has its boundaries proscribed by the culture mores that evolve and then we struggle to come to terms with the conflict between our own essential sexual self and the framework that it is permitted to be expressed in as defined by culture.

    What feels good, what feels right, what brings one into union what creates a sense of wholeness and union? Is it sustainable is it momentary, can it produce something long term or is it just fun? and what do those words mean. Sex is a vehicle for expression, what do you have to say!! Consciously or unconsciously!!

  33. Steve Hesky Says:

    As described above, sex is a vehicle for expression – consciously or unconsciously. Which archetypes are alive in any moment of expression can vary tremendously – from the sublime to the ridiculous. I cannot think of one simple, single “purpose” for this extraordinary form of expression, any more than speech has only one purpose.

  34. Daan Wyk Says:

    I would say “all of the above!”
    It definitely is a sacred thing, its about intimacy between two people in a committed relationship of love and respect. In this way it builds, heals, celebrates.
    But it can also be an expression of anger, resentment, a tool of manipulation, degradation, humiliation, submission, rebellion.

    As with any other tool, it can be used for good and for evil – depends on the one in whose hands it is?

  35. Aimee Lyndon-Adams Says:

    Sex is a gift that is designed to connect us directly to God and enhance intimacy between two people. Sadly sex has been vilified by the church resulting in this scared gift being largely untapped.

  36. What Gets You in the Mood? | Frank Love on Relationships Says:

    […] in a recent blog and explained what I believe to be the motivating factor behind most sex – intimacy. A research report entitled “Why Humans Have Sex” offers all sorts of other reasons and […]

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